NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A local real estate agency has relocated its office to a Main Street storefront to be closer to retailers, making $15,000 in renovations in the process.
Steepleview Realty opened its new office at 53 Main St. this month, in an effort to increase visibility and identify with existing retail businesses. Steepleview owner Jennifer Segala said the new look and feel of her office complements the current downtown landscape, in contrast to the stereotypically sterile look service businesses tend to have.
"It really fits with the museum, the arts, the antiques — everything that's around us, we just fit in perfectly,"Segala said.
Wedged between local staples The Hub and Gallery 51, alongside Press gallery and Berkshire Emporium & Antiques, the new storefront replaces Gallery 53, the "pop-up" gallery sponsored by Massachusetts College of Liberal Art's DownStreet Art. Pip Printing had been the previous occupant. Steepleview formerly occupied a space in the concourse at nearby 85 Main, where its office had a distinctly different atmosphere.
"It was more, what we call 'clinical' space. It was very plain and clinical-looking. We decided to come out on the street to be with retailers because we are retailers. We retail buildings," said Segala.
Scarafoni & Associates granted Steepleview a reduction of rent to cover moving and improvement costs to the office and signage. Alterations made were architectural, not structural, like turning doors into free-standing walls. The design was centered around an antique, church archway located just inside the entrance.
Below a green-and-red striped awning is the symmetrical storefront with two equally-sized windows displaying various ornaments, including a small flat-screen television with rotating images of properties, an antique metal structure akin to a fence door and a sign that reads "Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained."
Keith Bona, owner of The Emporium at 59 Main St., was critical of having an office occupy a downtown storefront, though he's happy with the look of this one and believes it could entice tourists to consider investing in the area.
"I wasn't overly thrilled with an office taking [that] space, because physically they look sort of boring and not as exciting; but I've got to say [Segala] went creative and did a nice job with her space," Bona, also city councilor, said. "I wouldn't want to see two or three more all in the same building, because it becomes less attractive to shoppers, but as long as they keep the windows interesting, fresh and nice, I think that's fine."
Steepleview has maintained an office in North Adams since 2000, beginning on Marshall Street then moving to Main Street approximately 10 years ago. The concourse offices at 85 Main made it difficult for Steepleview to gain the type of exposure Segala desires for the company, saying many people either did not know where the North Adams locale was or were unaware it existed.
She disagrees with any notion that her business differs from traditional retailers located in downtown North Adams.
"I do the same thing the guy does next door with his doughnuts and coffee and antiques," Segala said. "I want to fit in with the image down there."
A cocktail social is being held to formally celebrate the brand-new locale, scheduled for Friday, Nov. 22, from 5 to 7 p.m. Guests are encouraged to RSVP by calling 413-743-5903 or emailing to email@example.com.
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